NORTH ADAMS - In order to eliminate a $650,000 budget deficit and balance out the city's fiscal 2013 budget prior to setting the tax rate, Mayor Richard J. Alcombright will bring a number of recommended cuts and reserve fund transfers before the City Council on Tuesday.
"Back in June, when the budget was approved, it was with a deficit of some $650,000 which I explained at the time, I would balance out with $250,000 in free cash, reserve funds and possibly some midyear cuts," Alcombright said Friday. "This year, we did not receive any free cash as our fiscal 2012 budget was completely spent."
Although the budget deficit remains at $650,000, the mayor said he will only be looking to reduce the budget by $600,971.
"Our preliminary approval for the tax levy, with projected growth, will allow us to plug in some of the funds in generated tax revenue," Alcombright said. "Rather than utilize our reserves to cover the rest of the $600,971, I am bringing forward $172,309 in cuts."
The remainder of the deficit, some $428,662, will be replaced with funds from the city's reserve accounts. The city currently has $1.39 million in reserve funds, of which $253,316 are restricted accounts.
"We have a fairly strong reserve accounts and after the transfers, we'll still have about $960,000 in reserve funds," the mayor said. "We'll also have several hundred thousand dollars in our stabilization account."
In preparation for the cuts, the city instituted a spending freeze on all accounts on Nov. 30 and the mayor's financial team revisited every budget line item for accuracy and need, he said.
Alcombright said he will utilize the city's parking meter reserve, transfer station reserve, municipal access & technology fund, sale of cemetery lots and stabilization accounts to balance out the budget.
"Gov. Deval Patrick has warned that other emergency 9c cuts may be coming in the future," he said. "We'll set the tax rate on Dec. 18 and then see what happens when Jan. 1 arrives - whether we're going to be affected by the 'fiscal cliff' and any more 9c cuts."
The mayor warns in a letter to the city councilors that while he does not see the budget reductions having any adverse impact on city services, there is the possibility that "major cuts will once again have to be made to stay within our revenue limits" as the city begins to plan its fiscal 2014 budget.
In addition to the mayor's proposed budget cuts and account transfers, the City Council agenda includes an update on Western Gateway Heritage State Park and a letter from former City Councilor Vincent Melito, proposing the council revamp the city's Office of Tourism and create a Northern Berkshire Office of Tourism.